Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Team Orders Should Be OK

F1Fanatic has an article saying that the no-team-orders rule in F1 needs to stay. While one could make the case that fans want to see drivers in contention for the world championship be free to pursue that, the defense of the rule is ultimately hypocritical:
It’s clear from the vehement reaction to Austria 2002 and Germany 2010, and the muted response to Brazil 2007 and China 2008, that fans have far less objection to team orders being used when one driver is out of the running for the championship.

But they expect teams to allow their drivers to compete for the championship as long as both are in contention. It’s clear F1 needs a rule to enforce that and I see no reason why the existing article 39.1 can’t be updated to do so.
Such an update to the rule would make it unwieldy. How are you going to make the update? Based on points behind the championship leader? Wins? Some kind of sliding scale that changes based on the number of races remaining?

There is also the semantic difference between a race result being "fixed" as a result of the team's orders, and a race result being "fixed" as a result of two drivers conspiring. As in: I don't really see one. Both results are "fixed", yet because one came from an order from the pit wall, it is somehow bad.

I've written on team orders before. Even though I was very disappointed to see Massa be ordered to yield to Alonso, I think that team orders should remain. I noted that McLaren spends a lot of money to have two race cars run on Sundays, and if it should please Ron Dennis (at the time) to have one car run in front of the other, then I see no reason why he should be denied.